If you’re struggling to find a job, why not create your own? We take a look at the very first stage of setting up your own business…
With the UK employment market still in a rather uninspiring state, many people are beginning to wonder if they’ll ever find work. So why not create your own job?
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, setting up your own business could be your chance to do something that interests you which offers flexibility, immense job satisfaction and pays the bills at the same time. Best of all, being your own boss, you’ll understand your disability and your needs more than anyone else, so your job will be tailored to you.
Whether you’ve got dreams of running your own inclusive recruitment firm, want to set up a charity or have a fantastic idea for a pioneering product, anything is possible with a bit of hard work and determination.
It also takes a lot of research and specialised knowledge to help you tackle business plans, legal requirements, tax and beyond. So what support is available to help you through that crucial first step?
THINK IT THROUGH
Before you start investigating office space and advertising for a personal assistant, think everything through. Running a business is
a huge financial, physical, emotional and mental undertaking, so you have to be 100% positive that this is what you want before you go any further.
There are lots of questions to ask yourself too. What do you want to do? How do you plan to do it? What makes the service you’re offering different to everything else that’s out there? Think about your market, how you’d fit in, what you would do to make your business stand out and how it’ll make
Once you have a solid idea, there are plenty of agencies out there who can help offer you the information you need to get it off the ground. Business Link offers fantastic information and support to people starting up their own business. With online tutorials, pages of indispensible advice and all the legal and practical knowledge you’d need to start up your own business, it’s a one-stop shop for aspiring business owners. Shell LiveWIRE (www.shell- livewire.com) is another great resource with heaps of information available online as well as access to training, workshops and their entrepreneur awards.
Look into different courses that will give you the knowledge you need to get
started too. City University in London (www.city.ac.uk / 020 7040 8268)
runs a Starting Up in Business evening class which takes place once a week over ten weeks, offering you the tools you need to develop your own business idea or help you take a new business to the next level. Other universities and colleges offer similar opportunities, so get in touch with your local education establishment to see how they can help you.
Distance learning is another option. ICS (www.icslearn.co.uk / 0800 056 3983) provides a fantastic course introducing you to the fundamentals of successful business practice and you’ll gain an ICS Diploma at the end of it. This can be done in your own time from the comfort of your own home too.
Once you have all the information you need, it’s time to start planning. Draw up a business plan and do your sums – running a business doesn’t come cheap. Costs can vary massively depending on what you want to do. Do you need certain materials to get started? Will you be able to work from home or will you need separate premises? Do you need to employ any staff? Starting an online jewellery business, for instance, will have substantially smaller start-up costs than opening a restaurant.
Make sure you have the money, a backer or a loan in place to help you get started. Set up a meeting with your bank to see what sort of support they can offer and look into grants and government schemes too – you might find you’ll be entitled to more than you think.
Owning a business doesn’t mean you’ll be living the life of Lord Sugar by the end
of the week. As the man who famously started out on a market stall can testify,
any amount of success takes a lot of hard graft and the research stage is only just the beginning! You’ve still got to get the money you need together, find customers, suppliers, accommodation, register your name, raise your profile – the list goes on. While it is a lot of work, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
FIND OUT MORE
Federation of Small Businesses
0808 20 20 888
Chamber of Commerce
020 7654 5800